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Cultural Competence

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is committed to cultural competence through promoting respect and understanding of diverse cultures, social groups, and individuals. To achieve that commitment we develop and maintain a high performing workforce that provides meaningful service access and improves outcomes for all clients.

Our vision for cultural competence is to embrace inclusion as the standard for how we do business internally and externally. Inclusion promotes respect and understanding. Inclusion values and appreciates human differences, and living the experience of equity and social justice in all our policies and interactions.

Our customers include a broad range of human differences, such as ability, disability, age, educational level, ethnicity, gender, origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic class In order to serve our diverse customers we are dedicated to providing services, programs and policies that are appropriate and accessible to them.


We developed guidelines to provide a framework for cultural competence in order to promote cultural competence with Department clients, stakeholders and staff. View the guidelines.


We wrote a policy to strengthen our ability to create and maintain an environment within the Department that values and supports cultural competence and embraces the individual differences of our employees and clients. View the policy.

Cultural Competence Model

We created a model in order to share the processes, stakeholders and timelines involved in developing and implementing cultural competence within the Department. View the model.

Planning Guide

Directions on how to introduce, put into action and measure cultural competence throughout the Department are included in this planning guide.